Tales from the edge: The Norfolk village disappearing into the sea

Happisburgh has a problem: its coastline is in retreat. And while experts speculate on whether local factors, the climate crisis or both are at fault, all residents can do is wait. Sean Smith reports

Monday 06 September 2021 08:33
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<p>Erosion to the cliff face in Happisburgh, Norfolk </p>

Erosion to the cliff face in Happisburgh, Norfolk

Ever since we became a proud island nation, we’ve been fighting a losing battle with the sea. Perhaps the humiliation would be too much to bear if it wasn’t for the convenient fact that much of the vanquished territory lies hidden on the seabed just off the east coast of England.

Happisburgh in Norfolk used to be securely landlocked but is now very much on the frontline in the struggle against coastal erosion. Formerly famous for its red and white lighthouse, Happisburgh is today better known as the pretty clifftop village that is crumbling into the sea.

Hayes-buh-ruh, as it’s properly pronounced, is even taught in schools as a coastal erosion case study; each summer, coachloads of clipboard-toting children flock here to analyse its predicament.

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